Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Touhou Review: TH 17 Wily Beast and Weakest Creature

TH 17 Wily Beast and Weakest Creature

Yes. we're not dead... yet

Recently out on Comiket 96 and soon to be on steam (we'll talk about that in other post sometime soon) comes another installment to the series and also a returning playable character, Youmu Konpaku. The gimmicks of this game? Lets just say ZUN mashed TH12 and TH13 together for the new spirit howling system.

Storywise, the main heroine was told to venture to hell (no kidding) by some spirit aninals to deal with someone that is plotting to take over the surface world. Then from time to time, the main heroine will be possessed by the spirits within dialogues.

For this release, the playable characters will be Reimu, Marisa and Youmu. Unlike other games, each will .... technically have 3 shot types each but basically just 1 shot type but with different dps value based on which spirit you choose:

Reimu unfocused: Typical homing bullets she have in past games
Reimu focused: Forward focus fire, slightly large area

Marisa unfocused: Forward + wide with lasers
Marisa focused: Tight, forward focused missiles for max dps on 1 target

Youmu unfocused:forward firing pattern based on position of her ghost form
Youmu focused:Similar to TH13 version of her, she will unleash a flurry of high damage, wide slashes after charging around 2 seconds

As for the gameplay, like stated before, it has some familiar vibes from TH12 and TH13 where collecting the spirits that will most likely lead to your downfall for being too greedy like the UFOs and entering howling/berserk howling mode which is quite similar to Ten Desires. However, instead of the typical red blue green being life, point and bomb, it is now change as an "enhancement" for the heroine. Collecting 5 spirits will enter howling mode. If you managed to collect at least 3 of the same spirit type, the heroine will enter berserk howling mode, gaining the specific spirit buffs while it is active

Red spirit (wolf spirit)
By picking this spirit, the heroine's focused shot type will be enhanced passively, the berserk howling mode of the said spirit will have longer duration and while in that state, the heroine will fire significantly stronger focused shot.

Green spirit (otter spirit)
By picking this spirit, the bomb/spellcard of heroine will be buffed with longer action time and overall damage. Berserk howling of this spirit type will be prolonged and 3 rotating shield will be formed around the heroine, erasing any bullets from hostiles that touches the shield.

Blue spirit (eagle spirit)
By picking this shot, the heroine's unfocused shot will be enhanced passively, the berserk howling mode of the same spirit will have prolonged duration and while it is active, the heroine will fire significantly stronger unfocused shot than before which can be useful for mob clearing.

There are also other spirits that can be collected for obtaining power points, score points, bomb piece and life piece. Lastly, there are rare spirits that can be used to respawn some of the absorbed spirits which can be used to respawn more life and bomb pieces if timed properly. However, these rare spirits is rather tricky to obtain as has requirements while in mid-boss battle to have it spawned. Some screenshots of the rare spirits are shown below

Rare spirit for Stage 3

Rare spirit for Stage 1

Rare spirit for Stage 5

As usual, ZUN nailed it again once more. At first, I find the OST feels not as overwhelming his other works but the more u hear it and understand the story, the music scores feels like it matches perfectly on the situation the heroine is in, especially on the Stage 6 battle. The timing of the bgm loop feels completely on sync with each spellcards and the moment the spirits backing up the heroine. Kudos to him as usual. Gameplay-wise, who would have thought that merging 2 of the difficult aspect of mechanics from other games can actually make the game much more doable. Sure, getting extra lives is rather difficult but having able to choose berserk howling mode makes up to match the player/s playstyle to go for high risk + reward or play much safer route with otter mode spams.

Additional tips for the game, otter spirit shot type is the best pick to clear the story mode since the bombs in that shot type has extremely long action duration can be abused to be activated before the boss declares spellcard and deal a substantial amount of damage tot he boss without compromising the spellcard capture reward. However, the same exploit cannot be used on the extra stage boss because obviously, the boss is immune to the bomb damage. There are also berserk howling mode that will act like double edged sword and can end up hinders your playstyle more than it benefits you in extra stage. Some examples are shown in the 3 clips attached at the end of the post

To top it all, here's some gameplay clips of the game including 1 short saved stream.

Touhou 17 stream

1st Extra Stage clear

Hard mode run with Younu + Otter spirit

Guess what? The game is out on STEAM on 10th September 2019! Be sure to support him as now, it is easier for non Japanese fans of touhou to support his work instead of getting the copy by going to reitaisai & comiket or... piracy. Do check it out since the older titles are also out for quite a while.
Touhou 17 on steam

In the mean time, you can check out the game through the usual link. There's even english patch of the game despite being very new.
Moriya shrine link (english pre-patched)

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